A New Chapter is Underway
One of the most beloved concert venues in Florida, Jannus Landing was rechristened Jannus Live and re-opened in late March, 2010.
The long-standing concert spot, run for years on a shoestring and given only the most necessary of upgrades, was purchased in late 2009 by businessman Jeff Knight, who came with experience in the cable and nightclub/restaurant businesses. His ambitious re-imagining of the venue delighted some, alarmed others, and surprised just about everyone. With a cartel of partners, he poured capital, endless hours and sweat into Jannus, giving it a head-to-toe makeover. He has delivered his promise in full.
The open-air venue dates back to the mid 1980s, when a handful of small promoters got the idea to stage reggae and punk rock shows in a courtyard that was encased in a downtown block of St. Petersburg. Spurred by music-biz pioneers like Rob Douglas, Tony Rifugiato and Dave Hundley, Jannus Landing quickly became a hot spot for all manner of acts, but especially up-and-coming artists, cult favorites and underground legends. Although no firm statistics exist, it’s safe to say that Jannus Landing hosted more Bay area concert debuts than any other venue. From Pearl Jam’s unforgettable local debut to those of African juju artist King Sunny Ade, Neville Brothers, Radiohead, and scores of others, the venue has made more than its share of history.
Jannus flourished through the 1990s and most of the 2000s, but as that decade grew to a close, management of the site had grown haphazard, programming turned inconsistent and in late 2009 — under a cloud — Jannus Landing closed its gates.
But, thankfully, not for good. Amid disappointment over the loss of a local landmark, Knight appeared as an all-but-unknown savior. Met at first with suspicion by those who thought his overhaul would obliterate the courtyard’s rustic charm, he nonetheless forged on, always with an eye on retaining an inexorable link to the venue’s legacy.
He added novel stuff like … oh, for starters, indoor plumbing. The old Jannus Landing had limped along with a mixture of port-o-lets, piss-troughs and crowded back-bar restrooms. (Jannus Live now features 27 women’s room stalls.) That’s just a tiny sample of the many new VENUE FEATURES.
While the build-out was full tilt, Knight also established a team of talented professionals to restore the venue back to, and beyond, its former glory. To that end, the braintrust decided to re-name the concert spot Jannus Live, which is both an homage to the courtyard’s legacy and a signal of its new, vibrant and customer-friendly image.
One of Knights primary aims was to improve the venue’s bar service. Drink prices are actually lower than those of the old Jannus Landing. A new patio bar in the back corner is augmented by several mobile bar stations strategically placed throughout the courtyard. The refurbished balcony has suites available for rent and will soon unveil a roomy upstairs lounge where balcony patrons can congregate and score libations.
In all, Knight and company are thoroughly dedicated to making Jannus Live a first-rate concert experience.